The age of social media and canceled culture is a fraught time for brands. All it takes is one negative feedback or a scathing online review to damage a brand’s reputation. In fact, one survey found that up to 94% of consumers avoid using a particular brand based on one negative review.

This article will cover ways to turn bad online reviews into brand PR wins. In general these consist of:

  • Increasing your media presence
  • Having a knowledge base portal
  • Using non-canned responses

Let’s dive in!


1. Social Media Presence

Having a presence on all major social media platforms is necessary to engage with followers and respond to social feedback. Nearly 80% of consumers expect brands to respond to social queries within 24 hours. When you’re dealing with negative feedback, time is of the essence. The sooner you can respond to the complaint, the better.

Some key aspects of negative feedback worth covering:

  • Acknowledge the feedback:

Thank the customer for reaching out and expressing their concerns. Ensure you listen to your customer’s pain points. Statistics show that 56% of consumers change their opinion toward a business based on the business’ response to reviews.

  • Apologize and take responsibility:

Acknowledge that the customer had a bad experience and that you’re sorry for what happened. An apology increases customer satisfaction and improves business-customer relationships.

  • Take the conversation offline:

It’s crucial to respond to negative feedback publicly; however, some issues are better resolved offline. Provide a phone number, email address, or other means of private communication. This way, you can solve the matter calmly without interruption from other customers. Plus, you can prevent the topic from escalating.

  • Offer a solution:

If there’s anything you can do, take action immediately to improve the situation or plan to address the issue later.

  • Provide assurance:

Sometimes, a customer needs reassurance that you’re working on their case and will resolve it soon.

  • Follow up:

Customers feel your commitment to improving their experience when you follow them up to see if the issue is resolved.


Things to avoid when responding to negative reviews include:

  • Deleting negative comments
  • Ignoring the feedback
  • Getting defensive
  • Using vulgar language
  • Being dishonest


2. Use a Knowledge Management Resource

An internal knowledge management system empowers CS and digital marketing reps to share corporate rules and best practices for responding to feedback.

Meanwhile, an external knowledge portal enables customers to resolve issues conveniently and independently without going through CS channels and reduces complaints. More than 80% of customers try to resolve problems on their own before reaching out to CS, based on an HBR study.

Having an external knowledge base that customers can access 24/7 reduces the customer care agents’ workload and allows them to focus on more complex issues. According to HubSpot, most customers prefer using a knowledge base over other self-service options.

An external knowledge base should contain the following:

  • Product or service information
  • How-tos
  • FAQs
  • Troubleshooting articles

You should also ensure that the CS contact information is easily accessible for customers who need help they can’t find in the knowledge base. To ensure a successful external knowledge portal, ensure

  • It addresses the customer’s pain points
  • To update the information regularly
  • It’s easy to find and navigate
  • The content is clear and concise
  • Analyze performance metrics, such as views, feedback, and popular reads.

Negative Feedback into Brand Wins

3. Use Non-Canned Responses

Most organizations have response templates for most issues. Criticisms that go viral deserve a non-canned approach, with the brand responding to the complaint sincerely and humanly instead of in corporate speak.

When a customer raises an issue regarding your product or service, avoid boring, robotic responses, especially if the answer needed is crucial. Being sincere, empathetic, and helpful in your response keeps you ahead of your game.

Investing in customer service can reduce complaints from consumers. Chatbots, self-service, and automation are taking human interaction out of customer service. Many businesses regard chatbots as a permanent technology.

Don’t get us wrong; we love chatbots and self-service options since they’re effective at giving timely responses. They’re also efficient and cost-effective, often getting the job done just as well as a human would. But there’s a time for human interaction in customer service, thus the importance of having an effective one.

When customers feel frustrated, angry, or disappointed, they need to talk to a real person who can help them solve their problems. According to a survey by Userlike of 415 respondents, 60% prefer to wait in a queue for a human agent.


4. Turn It Into Valuable Content Marketing

How about addressing customer complaints more proactively and constructively rather than taking it personally? As a business, you can turn negative feedback into valuable content that can help build trust and credibility with your audience.

Content marketing is crucial for any business, small and large. According to statistics, 70% of B2C marketers and 73% of B2B use content marketing as a component of their entire marketing plan.

Content marketing educates prospects and customers about your product or service. As a result, it can boost your conversions and improve your brand awareness. For instance, if a consumer complains that one of your products doesn’t perform as promised, make a video that shows how to use it.

Creating engaging and informative content can attract new prospects and keep your existing customers coming back for more. You will also reduce negative feedback, since your customers have more information to guide them.

The most common types of content marketing strategies include:

  • Social media content marketing
  • Video content marketing
  • Infographic content marketing
  • Blog content marketing
  • Paid ad content marketing


5. Have a Customer Relationship Management System

Customer relationship management (CRM) can improve brand reputation. Tracking customer interactions and using the data to improve customer service can help create a positive brand image.

Improved customer experience is one of the main benefits of a CRM, according to 85% of its users. A CRM will lead to better infrastructure, communication, and satisfaction, which results in a happy customer.

When your customers are satisfied, your brand will receive more valuable customer feedback. And if there is any complaint, the customer will prefer to contact you directly other than leave a negative comment since you’ve established a good relationship.

A CRM can also help manage customer feedback, which one can use to identify and address problems early. CRM is not a magic bullet — it will not fix all of your brand’s reputation problems. However, if used correctly, it can be a powerful tool to help you build a better, more positive brand.


Parting Shot

Negative feedback is inevitable for any business. What matters most is how you take it. Implementing these tips can help improve your brand’s reputation and bottom line.

Note that businesses are different, and one tip that may work for one brand may give varying results. Try to incorporate other strategies that you feel are better suited for your brand. You can make it a point to go through Google reviews and understand why they are important. Our article on how to leverage your Google reviews effectively in 2023 and beyond can be an excellent guide.


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